She's put together a framework for shopping ethically that's pretty achievable with a tiny bit of extra effort. More importantly, you might just save yourself some money if you take Jen's advice.
Here's a rough outline. Regular readers may notice some alignment with the arguments we've been putting here at The Pier for a more ethical outlook. It's good to get the word out through as many places as possible.
- Don't buy something unless you need it. What use is a garment that you pick up on the offchance that it might come in useful, only for it to take up space in your wardrobe?
- If you need it, try to find it used. Ebay is your friend here, of course, but second-hand stores are increasingly picking up on the thrifty trend, and there's a lot of good stuff in your local Oxfam these days.
- Buy ethically, if you can. This, annoyingly, is the tricky bit. It's often hard to tell how ethically an item has been produced. The general rule of thumb is that if a garment is crazy cheap (like the 99p dress I talked about last week) there's a good chance it has ethical no-nos somewhere down the supply chain. There are, of course, plenty of online outlets that will do the job, and Jen has a good list on her site.
- Support local and small businesses! They're more likely to have rolled ethical practices into their working model, for two reasons. It's great PR, and over the long run it's more cost effective, especially at the smaller scale at which these guys work. Smaller scale often means more care and attention is paid to your order as well.
- Finally, if after all that you can't find the item you need, then make sure you buy it with an eye to the future. If it's well made, it'll last longer, and look better. Think investment, rather than stopgap. Remember what Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood says: Buy Less. Spend More. Choose Well.